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WHAT Program that arranges for pets (cats and dogs) and their owners to make friendly visits to elderly in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
WHYTo engage elderly in stimulating, interactive nursing home activities. To provide seniors with companionship and access to pet therapy and its benefits on overall well being.
WHEREAnimal Rescue League of Boston.
Boston Massachusetts, USA.

Program Description

"Numerous studies have shown that pet visitation programs increase social interaction among nursing home residents, reduce agitation in Alzheimer's patients, and ease the pervasive loneliness that often occurs in long-term care facilities. The wagging tails of the dogs and the purring of the cats bring smiles and laughter to the faces of nursing home residents, many of whom are isolated, lonely, and depressed."

The pets participating in the “PetPals” animal assisted therapy program are screened and evaluated by a veterinary behaviorist for temperament and reaction to stress. Once they pass the evaluation, training is provided.

Pet owners and pets are taught how to interact within a nursing home environment and with the senior residents. Training for the program may include getting pet owners and pets used to being around new things such as walkers, wheelchairs, medical equipment etc., and how pets can interact with seniors safely without causing a risk if falling or getting hurt.

The aim of the FriendshipWorks organization is to match volunteers with elders and adults with disabilities. In addition to the “PetPals” animal assisted therapy program the organization also handles the following programs for seniors:

Friendly Visiting Program - matches volunteers with elderly or disabled adults who would like visits on a regular basis.
Medical Escort Volunteers Program - accompanies elders or disabled adults to medical appointments.
Strong For Life Program - matches volunteers with elders to be “Walking Buddies” to help seniors improve strength, flexibility, and balance.
La Cadena de Amistad Program - serves elderly and disabled Spanish-speakers in the Jamaica Plain area.


Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program - Program widely available across the United States, Canada, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, and several other countries.
Trains pet owners and pets on how to visit nursing homes, hospice, hospitals, physical therapy centers, long-term care facilities and other facilities to provide animal assisted activities.

Therapy Dogs International Nursing Home Program - Across the USA and areas in Canada. Provides free visits of dogs to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, hospices and other facilities to provide an interactive nursing home activity and to give companionship to elderly.

Therapy Dogs Inc. Program - Program available across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories. Provides registration, support, and insurance for those involved in volunteer animal assisted activities.

People Animals Love Program - Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. USA.
Certified pet handler volunteers take their pets to visit elderly in nursing homes.

Pets on Wheels Program - Fairfax, Virginia, USA. Providing regular pet and dog visits to nursing homes and assisted living by trained volunteers and approved pets.

ASPCA - Animal Assisted Therapy Program - New York, USA. Pet owners can register their dogs and cats for animal assisted therapy and visit elderly in nursing homes, hospitals, classrooms, libraries and other facilities.

New Orleans Visiting Pet Program - New Orleans, USA. Animal assisted activity program where volunteer pet handlers and their pets visit nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and other facilities.

Intermountain Therapy Animals Program - Utah, USA. Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy teams visit seniors in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Centers, Alzheimer's Care Units, Hospitals, Veterans Hospitals, Hospices, Rehabilitation Centers and many other facilities.

Terminally Ill & Their Pets
Pets and Seniors Companionship
Service Dogs for Elderly

¬†Find out more about the “Friendship Works PetPals” Program

Senior Programs
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-Watch Nursing Home Documentaries

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